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‘It was like an out-of-body experience’ – How it really feels climbing Kilimanjaro

From the highs of summiting to the lows of altitude sickness, Julie Taylor recalls a trip of a lifetime with an all-female group of hikers

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Julie, left, during her Kilimanjaro adventure

Julie, left, during her Kilimanjaro adventure

The group at the bottom of Kilimanjaro

The group at the bottom of Kilimanjaro

Julie and some others battle altitude sickness

Julie and some others battle altitude sickness

Julie and friends above the clouds

Julie and friends above the clouds

Hiking in the rain forest

Hiking in the rain forest

Tents on Kilimanjaro

Tents on Kilimanjaro

The group on their way to the top

The group on their way to the top

Female porters carrying supplies

Female porters carrying supplies

Julie and the Galz Gone Wild group

Julie and the Galz Gone Wild group

Sunrise on the summit

Sunrise on the summit

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Julie, left, during her Kilimanjaro adventure

We started snaking our way up in the cold, head torches on, heads down. It was just gone midnight and all seemed very quiet, despite the noise in my own head and the conversations I was having with myself.

It was summit night on our ascent of Kilimanjaro, and from about 30 minutes into the walk, I’d started feeling very tired. One of the girls had mentioned a previous hike at altitude she had done, where the sensation of wanting to fall asleep on her feet standing still was overpowering. I soon realised this was happening to me. Staying awake, and staying moving, was about to become one of the hardest things I’d ever done.


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